Green’s Dictionary of Slang

spoon n.

[SE spoon, which is ‘open’ and ‘shallow’]

1. a fool, a simpleton [note cit. 2001].

Carlton House Mag. 217: The spoons or novices are permitted from prudential motives to be successful at the commencement.
[UK]‘Shadrack the Orangeman’ in Universal Songster I 27/1: Dere’s a soft spoon — look at him, stare him in the face.
[UK]J.M.F. Wright Alma Mater I 218: Now that year it so happened that the spoon was no spooney.
[UK] ‘Do You See Anything Green About Me’ in Sam Weller’s Favorite Song Book 8: Experience soon came to my aid, / Though once but a regular spoon.
[Ire]S. Lover Handy Andy 15: Am I a spoon, you rascal?
[Ind]J.W. Kaye Peregrine Pultuney I 136: We do get some good by going to Addiscombe; we leave off being spoons at all events.
[Ind]Delhi Sketch Bk 1 Sept. 100/1: Handle Spoons Every Officer will immediately seize upon the silver article so named, care being taken that imbecile gentlemen, vulgarly called Spoons be not laid hold of instead.
[UK]‘Cuthbert Bede’ Adventures of Mr Verdant Green (1982) II 143: Explain the common denominators ‘brick’, ‘trump’, ‘spoon’, ‘muff’, and state what was the greatest common denominator in the last term.
[UK](con. 1840s–50s) H. Mayhew London Labour and London Poor I 327/1: I’ll add half-a-dozen of the very best Britannia metal tea-spoons, and if you don’t buy, you must be spoons yourselves.
[US] ‘I Am A Downy Bird’ in My Young Wife and I Songster 43: I’ve owed five quarters rent, / And wouldn’t ‘shoot the moon,’ / To pay it been content, / Oh, wasn’t I a spoon?
[UK]Day’s Doings (London) 12 Oct. 15/2: ‘What a spoon she made of me once, to be sure’.
[UK]G.A. Sala in Living London (1883) Nov. 529: The ‘society masher’ is merely a good-looking and rather foppish ‘ladies’ man,’ somewhat of a ‘spoon,’ and occasionally a ‘muff’.
[UK]G.F. Northall Warwickshire Word-Book 223: Spoon, Spoony. A simpleton, noodle.
[NZ]G. Newbold Big Huey 147: I realised I was talking to a real spoon so I decided to have some humour with him.
[NZ]A. Duff One Night Out Stealing 34: No, ya spoon, that’s just a saying. It’s a – you wouldn’t understand.
OnLine Dict. of Playground Sl. 🌐 spoon n. a person so dense they were not allowed to use a sharp object, they could only have a spoon.

2. (Aus.) the penis.

[Aus]Satirist & Sporting Chron. (Sydney) 11 Feb. 3/1: The great qualification he possessed, and of which he frequently boasted, was what he termed his ‘silver spoon’. Big Jacko [...] had a great desire to exhibit this ‘spoon’ [...] to the neighbouring lasses.

3. a foolishly infatuated lover.

[Aus]Bell’s Life in Sydney 15 Sept. 1/2: Last week Maritana was left newly married. / And Cesar, of course, just about to be harried; / A fate very proper for every such spoon.
[UK]G.J. Whyte-Melville Digby Grand (1890) 23: Old Halberd [...] laughed at me for being ‘such a spoon.’.
[UK]Hotten Dict. of Modern Sl. etc. 224: A spoon has been defined as ‘a thing that touches a lady’s lips without kissing them’.
[UK] ‘’Arry on the River’ in Punch 9 Aug. 57/1: Tried to splash a smart pair of swell ‘Spoons.’.
[US]Nat. Police Gaz. (NY) 23 Dec. 10/2: It is strange what lengths love will carry the modern ‘spoon’ to.
[UK]Sporting Times 22 Feb. 1/4: ‘Only say yes, my darling—only tell me you will be mine.’ ‘Silly boy, how can I? My husband’s in the best of health, and we are the greatest spoons in the world.’.
[Aus]Dead Bird (Sydney) 4 Jan. 4/2: Not too amorously happy and by no means what's called ‘spoons’.
[Aus]Truth (Sydney) 2 Dec. 3/3: If the Boss, he may admire her, / He ain’t too much of a spoon / [...] /Letchery it are the name.
[UK]‘Doss Chiderdoss’ ‘Let Well Alone’ Sporting Times 3 Sept. 2/2: He found / That the ‘spoons’ were his wife and a gent.

4. a foolish, sentimental affection.

[Ind]‘Aliph Cheem’ Lays of Ind (1905) 135: They spooned from morn to eventide, / They lived and they breathed on spoon.
[UK] ‘’Arry on Song and Sentiment’ in Punch 14 Nov. 229/1: ‘Spoons’ — sweetheart or nursery, Charlie, go down with the women, old chap.
[UK] ‘’Arry on Angling’ in Punch 30 July 45/2: I told ’er ’er lips was true ‘spoon’-bait.

5. in attrib. use of sense 3.

[Aus]Sun. Times (Perth) 29 Apr. 4/7: He went through the gamut of spoon songs, / But still she was adamantine.

6. a second-rate coachman.

‘Some Road Slang Terms’ in Malet Annals of the Road 393: 4. Of Coachmen Spoon or lame hand...A bad [coachman].

7. a flirt; an act of flirtation; thus do spoons v., to offer sentimental and ridiculous protestations of love.

[NZ]N.Z. Observer (Auckland) 15 Jan. 169/3: To this day he has failed to convince a few suspicious friends [...] that he had not been doing a brief ‘spoon’.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 5 Mar. 8/2: A fond admirer, who, oblivious to the fact that we are not all suffering from an attack of ‘spoons’ in that direction, commenced to applaud frantically.
[UK] ‘’Arry on His Critics and Champions’ in Punch 14 Apr. 180/1: Wot hodds if it’s chivvying swells with red ties, doing spoons at the ‘Gai,’ / Or leading a rush along Fleet Street.
[NZ]N.Z. Observer and Free Lance (Auckland) 20 Mar. 23/4: What a grand spoon the gardener and tanner must have had with the Misses W. and S.!
[Aus]Truth (Sydney) 28 Oct. 5/5: Takes her out across to Manly, / Does the heavy on the spoon; / Later finds Hyde Park convenient, / Where there aint no pryin’ moon.
[UK]Harrington & LeBrunn [perf. Marie Lloyd] Bond Street, Tea Walk 🎵 For, in a tea-shop, don’t you know - they’ve lots of spoons / Parisian confections, elaborate complexions.
[Aus]Sun. Times (Perth) 5 Mar. 4/6: We’ll know in future when to book / Our dates to have a picnic spoon.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 7 Nov. 12/3: The Customer: ‘A spoon, please!’ / Absent-minded Waitress: ‘I really haven’t time.’.
[US] 🌐 spoon: (n.) a girl who doesn’t put out ex. damn, that sneak is a motherfuckin spoon too.

8. (US) a shovel.

[US](con. 1920s) J. Thompson South of Heaven (1994) 7: Getting our hands all calloused with those long-handled spoons.

9. (also spoonful) 2g (1/16th oz) of heroin or cocaine [approx. 1 teaspoonful].

[US]Rigney & Smith Real Bohemia 62: As of June 1959 heroin [...] sold at $40 a spoon, $20 for half a spoon.
[US]C. Brown Manchild in the Promised Land (1969) 173: I started buying cocaine in quantities [...] a spoon for forty dollars.
E.F. Droge Patolman 169: Cocaine [...] is usually sold in ‘spoons,’ one-gram packets of tinfoil, at a price of fifty dollars each.
[US]A. Hoffman Property Of (1978) 228: Give me the shit [...] I want that spoonful.
[US](con. 1950s) Courtwright & Des Jarlais Addicts Who Survived 156: If you buy it from the niggers uptown, they’re going to give you sixteen level spoons. But if you go over to the guineas on First Avenue, you get twenty-one level spoons an ounce.
[US]E. Bunker Mr Blue 365: ‘Twelve-page habeas petition mailed Marin County Court this afternoon.’ It translated: twelve spoons, or twenty-four grams of heroin had been sent to an address in Marin County.
D. Vrij ‘Tying Off’ on 🌐 After sitting around his crib for a week, while his vehicle was having its ignition replaced, other little details, coming down but no thought of kicking, he was at last, on his way to the spoon.

10. enough heroin to provide a single injection [the contents of the spoon that is used to heat the drug].

[US]‘Iceberg Slim’ Airtight Willie and Me 66: She cooked up a spoon and drew a shot up into the dropper.
[US]J. Ellroy Brown’s Requiem 70: A record player has got to be good for five or six spoons.
[US]Bentley & Corbett Prison Sl. 75: Spoon [...] a unit of measure of one dose of a drug, primarily a drug that is ‘shot’ or injected, such as heroin.
[US]N. Walker Cherry 229: [Y]our new friends would eat the eyes out of your head for a spoon or twenty dollars, your old friends stayed away.

11. (N.Z. prison) a newly qualified prison officer.

[NZ]D. Looser Boobslang [U. Canterbury D.Phil. thesis] 174/1: spoon n. a new prison officer recently completed his or her training.

In derivatives

spoonified (adj.)

1. foolish, sentimental.

E. Caswall Characteristic Sketches of Young Gentlemen 35: [title] The Spoonified Young Gentleman.
[UK]Odd Fellow (London) 23 Oct. 1/2: [pic. caption] ‘I say, Jack; do you see anything particularly spoonified in my new tile?’.
C.G. Gore Gypsy’s Daughter 43/1: Do you perceive anything so extraordinary green and spoonified in my physiognomy.
Hunt’s Yachting Mag. Oct. 546: Contemptible as these spoonified sentiments may seem to us at this day, even yachtsmen themselves get weary of toujours perdrix.
Jon Duan 10/1: Pious young PETER, who never told lies, Who never would fight, — His teacher's delight, — In short, was a spoonified duffer, ma'am, quite.
[UK]Pall Mall Gaz. 13 Feb. 15/2: If he is a ‘spoonified’ young gentleman he has a puffy potato-looking phiz.
[UK]‘Doss Chiderdoss’ ‘A Somnolent Suitor’ Sporting Times 21 May 1/3: No canoodling, no kisses, no gaslight turned low, / No pet names and no spoonified chat.

2. tricked, deceived.

[US] ‘I Am A Downy Bird’ in My Young Wife and I Songster 43: I once was spoonified, / For which I had to pay.
spooniness (n.)

sentimentality; foolishness.

Atheneum (Boston, MA) 1 Feb. 334/1: Abating a little spooniness about respect due to the audience, which, however, is quite natural in so very provincial a writer.
S.C. Hall Countess 27: I have often thought that a man in love would be quite cured of his spooniness, if he only took a short trip with her during a strong breeze.
C.H. Knox Spirit of the Polka 39: Take a good tight hold of your partner and keep it; it is the height of spooniness to let any thing slip through your fingers.
R.D. Gibney My Escape from Mutinies 1 196: Many [were] the bits of advice tendered as a cure for ‘spooniness,’ as they termed his disease.
[UK](con. 1840s–50s) H. Mayhew London Labour and London Poor I 297/2: Here’s the real Jack Sheppard [...] and no gammon! The real edition – no spooniness here.
[UK]E. Yates Broken to Harness II 150: It is simply by professing hopeless, unswerving, unconquerable spooniness.
Irish Mthly 3 599: A young lady under the impression that ‘first love,’ with its unutterable spooniness, is going to last for ever, and to stand every shock that time and experience will administer.
M.E. Braddon 1Mount Royal 1 n.p.: A man inthe last stage of spooniness will stand anything.
F. Marryat At Heart a Rake 2 86: It was a regular custom of his to ‘chaff’ these newly married lovers on their spooniness.
[Aus]Sun. Times (Perth) 22 Mar. 1/1: The object of his spooniness is a particularly beauteous bar-belle.
[US]Tacoma Times (WA) 11 Jan. 5/4: The least touch of spooniness will spoil the whole thing.
Courier News (Bridgewater, NJ) 2 May 17/8: Then comes the calamity [...] timidity, pleading, horror, swooning spooniness.
[US]Hartford Courant (CT) 1 Apr. G4/3: A too obvious practitioner of ‘spooniness’ Housman is warned to avoid.

In phrases

come the spoon (v.)

to court, to make love.

[UK]Partridge DSUE (1984) 244/1: from ca. 1865.
in(to) the spoon

(drugs) using narcotics.

[US]H. Selby Jr Requiem for a Dream (1987) 161: They got back into the spoon. Their noses and eyes cleared up [...] A week later [...] they tried again to stop using, but this time they were back in the spoon before they were dressed.
[US]Bentley & Corbett Prison Sl. 78: In the Spoon [...] When an intravenous drug user is using drugs.
it’s a case of spoons with them

a phr. used of a couple who are obviously in love.

[UK]Sl. Dict. 305: Spoons the condition of two persons who spoon on each other, who are deeply in love. ‘I see, it’s a case of spoons with them’ is a common phrase when lovers are mentioned.
A.F. Hector The Freres 171: Yes, she is awfully pretty, but too much of a doll. I think it’s a case of spoons with Frere, in that quarter.
[NZ]Truth (London) 25 1157: He’s pretty far gone on her. She’s awfully sweet upon him. It’s a case of spoons with them.
[UK]Farmer & Henley Sl. and Its Analogues.
[UK]Sporting Times 18 June 1/4: As they sat side by side by the silvery sea / ’Twas a clear case of ‘spoons,’ you would bet.
[Aus]Sydney Sportsman (Surry Hills, NSW) 28 Sept. 6/6: As they sat side by side by the silver sea / ’Twas a clear case of ‘spoons,’ you would bet.
not the sharpest spoon in the drawer (adj.)

(US) stupid, foolish.

[US]D. Winslow ‘The San Diego Zoo’ in Broken 114: The cop isn’t the sharpest spoon in the drawer.
on the spoon (adj.)

(Aus.) enaged in some degree of love-making (prior to intercourse).

[Aus]Sport (Adelaide) 23 Oct. 5/5: Harry thought he’d go to see / And found them on the spoon.
out of the spoon

(drugs) not using drugs.

[US]Bentley & Corbett Prison Sl. 78: Out of the Spoon [...] A former drug user who is no longer ‘shooting’ drugs is said to be out of the spoon.
spoons on (adj.) (also spoons about)

sentimentally in love with.

J.S. Coyne Everybody’s Friend I i 7: Feath.: It was one of my nonsensical effusions, when I was spoons about you. Mrs. F.: Spoons! Feath.: Well, when I was dying in love with you, my dear.
[UK]E. Arden (parody) in News Mag. July 38/1: Philip Ray and Enoch Arden, Both were ‘Spoons’ on Annie Lee; / Phil did not ful-fill her notions, / She preferred to mate with E.
[UK]G. Leybourne ‘Parisien Harry’ in Comic Songs 9: All the pretty French girls are spoons on me.
[UK]‘F. Anstey’ Vice Versa (1931) 73: I’ve been spoons on Dulcie myself ever since I came, and she never would have a word to say to me.
[Aus]Truth (Sydney) 3 Feb. 3/6: He was orful spoons on me, to be sure.
[UK]Boy’s Own Paper 25 Mar. 410: The old chap had a very handsome daughter [...] and I and my friend – his name is Gott – got spoons on her.
spoons (with)


[UK]Hotten Dict. of Modern Sl. etc. (2nd edn) 224: spoons ‘when I was spoons with you,’ i.e., when young, and in our courting days before marriage.
[UK]E.J. Milliken ‘Cad’s Calendar’ in Punch Almanack n.p.: If you’re spoons, a flowery one’s your plan, / Mem. I sent a proper one to Fan.
[UK] ‘’Arry on Marriage’ in Punch 29 Sept. 156/1: ‘Spoons’ is proper; the best barney out, mate.
T.B. Reed Master of Shell 17: How's Railsford? Are you and he spoons still?

SE in slang uses

In exclamations